Reader mailbag: Steinbrenner and Monument Park

Yogi Berra is the most obvious name among those with a plaque who could receive a monument after his passing. His resume is impeccable and while many people today see him as a cuddly old man, we must recognize just how great he was amongst all players, especially catchers, all time. Bill James’ Win Shares pegs Yogi as the #1 catcher of all time, and the 52nd best non-pitching player of all time. Of All Time. 

How about this list:

  • 18x All-Star selection (1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1959, 1960, 1960, 1961, 1961, 1962)
  • 13x World Series champion (1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1969, 1977, 1978)
  • 3x AL MVP (1951, 1954, 1955)

Ten World Series rings as a player, plus three as a coach. Not to mention him being a wonderful ambassador for the game…

I think we’ll see a Yogi Berra monument not long after his passing.… Click here to read the rest

Off Topic: Bloggers vs. Reporters. Again.

Obviously I’m not interested in examining the football stuff too closely here, but on the specifics; clearly Wise is in the wrong, and his explanation is unpersuasive to say the least. A reporter making up a story, for any reason, used to be the sort of thing that would get you fired immediately from a publication like The Washington Post, and, call me old fashioned, but I still think that, at the very least, someone who does what Wise did at least deserves to be stigmatized for it. And while his explanation could be plausible, given the actual circumstances it’s really not. If Wise had tried to prove a point about the lack of fact-checking or context on the internet by, say, publishing this report anonymously on a well trafficked website or putting some sort of signifier that the story was false on Twitter which everyone then ignored to run with the “news” on Roethlisberger, I could at least see where he’d have some sort of a point.… Click here to read the rest

Does Javy Have His Groove Back?

Javier Vazquez looked incredibly sharp in last night’s relief appearance, going 4.2 innings while allowing one run on two hits and 6 strikeouts. He looked sharper than he had since August started, and credited the change to a mechanical tweak made by Dave Eiland:

There is a slight mechanical adjustment that seems to be helping Vazquez’s fastball. When he lifts his left leg in his delivery, Vazquez is bringing the leg farther back. It’s not more of a twist, he said, and the leg’s not coming up any higher, it’s just coming a little farther back toward second base.

“The arm angle also has to play a part of it, but (pitching coach Dave Eiland) feels like that’s going to give me better momentum, and it has,” Vazquez said. “The ball was true to where I wanted it to be.”

The mechanical change had tangible results, as Javy’s stuff was noticeably sharper than it had been in recent weeks. Unlike Javy’s starts in August, during which he was battling a dead arm and averaged 88 MPH on his fastball, Javy was close to 90 MPH (89.37) with his fastball.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks batter Cahill, A's to the tune of 11-5

Not to toot our own horns, but prior to tonight’s game both MJR and I had a feeling the Yankees would end up getting to Trevor Cahill, after Matt of Matt on Earth fame expressed some consternation over the team having to face the pitcher with the second-lowest ERA in the American League.

Matt: “I’m not sure which is more unsettling — Cahill tonight, or a pitcher we haven’t seen all year. Sigh.”

MJR: “The Yanks knocked Cahill around when we faced him in Oakland. Hopefully he hasn’t adjusted.”

Larry: “I’m not sold on Cahill. I can only imagine I’ll be eating those words after he no-hits the Yanks tonight, but the negative delta between his ERA and FIP is the widest in the American League, which suggests a pretty healthy dose of luck. Additionally, his road numbers are all far worse than his home numbers. Not saying he’s a bad pitcher by any stretch of the imagination, and if he possesses a changeup then God help the Yankees, but I don’t know that Cahill is quite the superstud he’s made out to be.”

What we didn’t expect, however, was that he’d give up eight earned runs — the most Cahill has surrendered all season — as the Yankees rolled to an 11-5 victory.… Click here to read the rest

Game 131: Athletics 5, Yankees 11

Trevor Cahill has had a great season in Oakland this season, but the Yankees got to the young hurler early.  Brett Gardner worked a walk to lead off the bottom of the first.  Derek Jeter grounded into a force out, but Teixeira lined a single to right, moving Jeter to second.  Cano connected with a RBI single, pushing Jeter across the plate for the Bombers first run of the game.  Swisher then doubled to center, scoring Teixeira and Cano and tying up the game at 3-3.

The pitchers calmed down in the second inning, but the Yankee bats got to Cahill in the bottom of the third.  With two outs, Teixeira went yard, putting the Yankees ahead for the first time Monday.  Cano followed with a solo shot of his own and the Yankees were up 5-3.

The A’s got one back quickly in the top of the fourth as Larish sent a solo homer out, making it 4-5.  Moseley was able to get out of the inning without any other trouble, however. … Click here to read the rest

An opportunity

After finishing off a series win against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field, the Yankees traveled home last night to prepare for a homestand beginning this evening.  First, the club will take on Oakland in a four-game series.  The pitching matchups are as follows:

Monday, 7 pm EST – Trevor Cahill v. Dustin Moseley.  Cahill is the anomaly of the year with a .217 BABIP and a FIP almost a run and a half lower than his ERA this year.  Dave Cameron outlined the issues surrounding his BABIP at Fangraphs a week ago, and it’s worth a read.  The short version is that Cahill is probably throwing pitches that are harder to hit, but is almost certainly getting good fortune on balls in play.

Tuesday, 7 pm EST – Vin Mazzaro v. Phil Hughes. This will be Hughes’ 25th start of the season, and a six inning start would put him at the 150 inning mark.  He’ll be opposed by New Jersey native Vin Mazzaro, who has been similar to Cahill in terms of balls in play this season.… Click here to read the rest

Predicting The Playoff Roster, Take 1

With September fast approaching and the Yankees 6.5 games clear of the Red Sox in the Wild Card race, I thought it would be interesting to try and figure out what the playoff roster might look like if the Yankees hold on to a postseason spot. With some injuries and strong performances from young players muddying the waters, it is likely that I will be wrong, but hopefully we can come close to estimating the actual roster.

Here are the locks:

Position Players (12)
Jorge Posada
Francisco Cervelli
Mark Teixeira
Lance Berkman
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Brett Gardner
Curtis Granderson
Nick Swisher
Marcus Thames
Austin Kearns

Pitchers (8)
CC Sabathia
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes
Mariano Rivera
Joba Chamberlain
David Robertson
Boone Logan
Kerry Wood

That leaves 5 remaining spots, with only a utility infielder, a 4th starter, and a long man being necessities. AJ Burnett and Javier Vazquez are likely the only candidates for the starting spot, although I guess it is possible for Nova to swipe it if both veterans continue to pitch terribly and he sustains his strong start.… Click here to read the rest

Does It Matter Who Your Manager Is?

The strange thing is that it’s not like this doesn’t happen from time to time, and the manager sometimes wins. Yankee fans should be familiar with this right now, as one of the more obvious examples in recent history was Ozzie Guillen’s open disdain for Nick Swisher when Swish was with the White Sox. That feud ended with Ken Williams under so much pressure to get Swisher out of town, he traded Swish to the Yankees in what may well go down as one of the most lopsided trades in a generation in any major American sport. Needless to say, things have gone much better for Swish since 2008 than they have for the White Sox.

There’s no real point to this, I guess, other than my own observation that managers are wildly over valued in baseball these days. Sure, there was a time when managers wielded an enormous influence over the success of their teams, but that was a time in which the role of the manager was much different.… Click here to read the rest

Ten Things I've Learned In Three Months, Part 1

I hope that everyone had as amazing a summer as I did. I love the outdoors, and couldn’t think of a better way to spend the season than out in the woods. One of the downsides of being in the woods is that I don’t have much baseball information, especially minor league information, coming my way. And boy, did I miss a lot.

The past three months may have been the best half-season ever for the Yankees minor league system. Good news proliferated through a system that needed some good news pretty badly around the time I had left. It came in leaps and bounds up and down throughout the system.

1. Jesus Montero can hit again

Jesus Montero did not have a good introduction to Triple-A. He hit .247/.313/.384 in April and an even worse .214/.302/.333 in May. His name began to surface in trade rumors. Plans to DH/C him in the majors in 2011 looked thin. But Montero, just 20 years old, responded with his best-hitting half season ever.… Click here to read the rest